Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Aesthetic Realism Teaching Method--Bullying Can End!

In light of  recent violent events in and around schools throughout the country, I want to highlight again a tremendously important article by my colleague, Aesthetic Realism Associate and Middle School Math teacher, Zvia Ratz.  While the article deals mainly with bullying and how the desire to bully people changed in her students through the mathematics lessons she taught, it is certainly pertinent to recent violence, such as the horrific stabbing death of a young lady who turned down a prom invitation by a young man.

 Ms. Ratz gives the central cause of all violence--contempt for the world--which Eli Siegel, the founder of Aesthetic Realism defined as:  "the addition to self through the lessening of something else."  And she provides the kind, desperately needed solution--honest like the world, real respect for it, which includes how we see and treat other people.  As students see, in this instance, how algebraic equations stand for ethics, they change.  Ms. Ratz writes about the effect on her students of this lesson on equations and others she taught throughout the term:

 "Through this and other lessons—for example, on the least common multiple, and the greatest common factor—my students were seeing ethics in mathematics: that there is an insistent relation of sameness and difference going on all the time. This made for a large change in how they saw people different from themselves. Mocking and cursing lessened. They began to work with and help one another. And they learned!

To learn more about the relation of education and ethics in mathematics, read the entire article by clicking here:


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